Last week, I flew to Legazpi City in Albay and checked into the Malinao Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (MTRC)
MTRC is a government facility run by the Philippine Department of Health, which treats and rehabilitates drug dependents and their families.
The center primarily uses the Therapeutic Community Model to treat patients, which is a holistic approach that’s been found to be one of the most effective behavior modification programs in the world.
And as part of their year-round schedule of activities, I was invited to spend a few days with the staff and residents there to teach Financial Literacy.
I’ve never been inside a rehabilitation center before, so I was really curious what it would be like inside.
Well, the place is actually nice, orderly and spacious. I felt like I was inside one of the dormitories in U.P. Diliman.
My two-day mission in MTRC was to teach the residents about proper money management and talk about investing and entrepreneurship.
I have to admit, when I first received the invitation to speak, I was hesitant to accept because it’s Christmas season and my schedule is usually packed during this time.
Also, the prospect of giving a whole-day seminar for two consecutive days is not something I can imagine doing. I already felt exhausted just thinking about it!
But I said to myself that this is an opportunity that not many people get.
It was a chance to do something bigger than myself, and be part of a mission that can help change lives.
So I hopped on a plane, and a few hours later, found myself talking to the MTRC community.
Day 1 was all about Personal Finance. I talked about the habit of saving, the concept of “paying yourself first” and the importance of having a solid financial foundation.
During this time, I noticed that while most of them were listening, a good number of the residents were not really into the topic.
I began to wonder inside if I wasn’t being effective in getting the lessons across, and if they’re really able to understand what I was trying to teach them.
Towards the end of the first day, when I began to discuss proper budgeting and we had to analyze their spending – that’s when I discovered something I didn’t expect.
Most of them are actually entrepreneurs, and already have a good grasp of how to make money. One of them, upon doing his balance sheet, even honestly admitted to the class that he has spent almost P7 million in drugs!
They understood how money works and how to earn it – the problem was that they didn’t know “where” to properly spend it.
I talked to some of the staff during the end of Day 1, and they confirmed that most of the residents did run businesses before they were admitted to the facility.
Day 2 was all about Investing and Business Planning. I discussed with them the different types of investments that they can go into – from the zero-risk time deposits, up to the high-risk stock market.
I also shared the many ways that one can create passive income, particularly on how to remove yourself from your business and make it run on its own.
The residents were noticeably more interested on the topics I discussed during the second day. A handful of them even shared their business problems with the class and asked for my advice on how to solve them.
The Most Important Lesson They Learned
My last topic was about having goals in life.
I told them that having goals are important, because that’s what makes life challenging and exciting. I shared that to work for your dreams and to finally achieve them, is one of the best feelings in the world.
As the two-day seminar concluded, and I started to bid goodbye to the residents. One of them shook my hand, and said something that made the whole trip worth it.
“Because of what you said, I realized that I didn’t have goals in life, and that’s why I spent all my money on drugs. I know better now, and I’m really excited to go home and start my life anew.”
I’d like to express my gratitude to Dra. Tess Iñigo, and all the staff of MTRC for the warm hospitality. I’m glad to be of service and to be part of your mission.
Should you want to learn more about the Malinao Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, you can check out their Facebook Page here.
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